In High A Salem, 20-year-old Red Sox pitching prospect Michael Kopech dominated in his Carolina League debut Thursday after missing three weeks with a muscle strain in his upper calf/lower knee region.
Though Kopech walked three batters, he allowed just one hit in four innings while striking out six — including a nine-pitch striking-out-of-the-side in the fourth inning in which his final pitch was (according to the scoreboard) a 101-miles-per-hour comet for a called strike three.
One radar gun had the hard-throwing righty sitting at 97-100 m.p.h. throughout his outing, topping out at an Aroldis Chapman-esque 103. Just two big leaguers this year — Chapman (39 times) and Mauricio Cabrera (nine times) have thrown a pitch that registered at 102.0 m.p.h. or above. Kopech has also showed an 89-92-m.p.h. slider and a decent — if largely unnecessary — changeup.
While Kopech has earned notoriety for the wrong reasons over the last year, there’s also little doubt about the electricity of his arm or his considerable ceiling based on his high-octane stuff.
Video: Michael Kopech strikes out side on nine pitches